Will Darley made sure his first start of the season for UMBC was a reassuring one for the coaching staff that gave him the opportunity.
The Dulaney graduate scored 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting and grabbed five rebounds in Saturday’s 71-63 loss to Colgate. Coach Aki Thomas wasn’t ready to declare Darley an everyday starter for the Retrievers (1-6), but said the 6-foot-8, 210-pound junior showed enough to warrant consideration to start Wednesday night at Bowling Green (4-2).
“We’re just looking for some good groups that play well together,” Thomas said Tuesday. “Will Darley is starting to get back into game shape. He’s got a couple of games under his belt. Loyola [on Nov. 18] was his first game back, and he’s been able to play in three games since then. We’re feeling comfortable with the things he’s doing out there on the floor.”
Thomas said what he liked was that Darley didn’t sit back and wait for his teammates to create chances.
“Will was being aggressive, and I think he’s making some really good plays – not just for himself but for others,” Thomas said. “He was just being aggressive.”
While Darley made his debut as a starter against the Raiders, Jourdan Grant took a reserve role for the first time this season. After starting in UMBC’s first six games, the sophomore point guard came off the bench to register 18 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Grant sank 12 of 14 free-throw attempts and gave the starters some much-needed support, Thomas said.
“Coming off the bench, he made some really good plays and got to the free-throw line,” he said. “So he was a boost, for sure.”
Asked if Grant would return to the starting lineup against Bowling Green, Thomas replied, “I wouldn’t read too much into that. Jourdan had a good game against Colgate. There will be times when we need him to come off the bench and times when Jourdan will start games. He had a good game against Colgate.”